UAMS’ Institute for Digital Health & Innovation Receives $1.5 Million Grant to Enhance Traumatic Brain Injury Resources

By Karmen Robinson

The Administration for Community Living, under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, awarded the five-year grant in an effort to expand the reach and impact of Arkansas’ TBI programs, including the TBI State Partnership Program and the Trauma Rehabilitation Resources Program (TRRP), both of which are housed at the UAMS institute.

For the duration of the grant, the programs will receive more than $200,000 annually, and the Arkansas Department of Health will contribute an additional $100,090 to the grant each year.

“Digital health tools have allowed UAMS and our stakeholders to better serve Arkansas communities and provide quality health care throughout the state,” said institute Director Joseph Sanford, M.D. “As our teams increase access to specialists and resources through digital health, we can enhance services that our community members need in every part of the state.”

The grant aims to add expert case management and new screening tools to better assess the individual needs of TBI survivors, in addition to helping them re-enter the workforce and increase their community engagement. The grant will also expand the TBI state registry to include persons with mild TBI. Previously, the registry only tracked Arkansans with a moderate to severe TBI.

Additionally, the TBI programs at UAMS will implement a Return-to-Learn initiative to train education professionals in the state’s public school system. The statewide program will work with school nurses, psychologists and therapists to enhance recognition and intervention for children living with a TBI.

“We continue to see a real shortage of rehabilitative services for persons living with TBI. This leads to an increased use of costly emergency services, reduced community engagement, less employment opportunities and ultimately a reduction in the quality of life,” said Danny Bercher, Ph.D., assistant director of TRRP.

“If they get adequate rehabilitation and other community supports, then they have a chance to be productive and active members in our communities,” he continued. “We believe everybody should have the opportunity to get back on their feet, and that is what our programs are all about.”

UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and eight institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute, Institute for Digital Health & Innovation and the Institute for Community Health Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS’ clinical enterprise. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 3,275 students, 890 medical residents and fellows, and five dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 12,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children’s, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), YouTube or Instagram.